Our View: Making connections and networking

The first and most important thing in college is getting an education. The second is making connections and networking (and no, Facebook doesn’t count). Students should be more aware of the significance of getting to know your peers, and more importantly, your professors. This applies to every college student.


The first and most important thing in college is getting an education. The second is making connections and networking (and no, Facebook doesn’t count). Students should be more aware of the significance of getting to know your peers, and more importantly, your professors. This applies to every college student.

Of course, meeting new people and making friends from a purely social standpoint is essential. A basic fundamental of life is being around people. It’s good for you. However, beyond your social life, there is another benefit to expanding your interpersonal horizons: networking.

By knowing more people, you essentially know more people who know more people. Consider the six degrees of separation, only on a smaller, more self-invested scale. Chances are if you know six academically and professionally successful people, they each know a minimum of one experienced, useful person. If you make a personal connection with an experienced, useful person, they have the potential to become useful to you.

Obviously, this is a rather straightforward approach to explaining the importance of networking, but for all intents and purposes, why sugarcoat? Students need to make sure that they branch out during their academic careers to increase the chances of securing a successful future, unequivocally.

More valuable than reaching out to your peers is reaching out to your professors and supervisors. Demonstrating a strong ambition to improve your skills and seek opportunities makes you stand out among other students and colleagues. Showing that you have a potential for a bright future makes important people in instrumental positions want to contribute to that future. If you secure a positive relationship with someone you admire professionally, that means you have someone to consult in matters of future endeavors, not to mention a source for a commendable recommendation letter.

Having good contacts extends even further than having good references. When you have reputable people to consult who can attest to your aptitude, you have more chances for further opportunities, including job offers.

For example, perhaps a faculty adviser of a student organization you actively participate in knows you are nearing graduation and, in turn, entry into the start of your career. That faculty adviser might know a senior vice president of a corporation who is looking to hire someone to a position for which you qualify. If you’ve made a constructive connection with the faculty adviser, there is a good chance they’ll mention your name to the senior vice president of the corporation. You will then have in front of you a path to success as a result of the professional networking process which will continue throughout your life. If you’re doing it right, it will also continue to benefit you.

If you haven’t already incorporated this skill into your repertoire of educational tools, now would be a good time to start. Getting to know people pays off.